Erin Siobhan Smith
USAO is a model for what other universities should strive to be: genuinely invested in the future of its students, diverse enough to foster success for all students and committed to being a source of comfort, even long after graduation.
Erin Siobhan Smith didn’t know quite what she was getting into when she decided to transfer to USAO, but that simple decision led her to go on to earn a master’s degree and her dream job.
Smith is a museum curator at the Moore-Lindsay Historical House, operated by the Cleveland County Historical Society. In her position, she gets to wear a number of hats — giving tours, speaking to press and researching — a skill she mastered in her undergraduate work.
“I can express with complete certainty that my life and career as a museum professional would not have been a remote possibility had I not made the connections I did at USAO,” Smith said. “By obtaining a great background in the cultural arts, in addition to economics, psychology and history, I was able to pursue my dream of entering the museum field.”
Smith transferred to USAO after earning her associate’s degree in art at Northern Oklahoma College in Tonkawa. Immediately, Smith knew Chickasha was the place for her.
“I visited the campus and was impressed by the facilities, wide range of class curriculum and general welcoming atmosphere from the faculty and staff,” she said. “USAO felt like the perfect place to begin a new chapter in my pursuit of the arts.”
Following her graduation in 2007, Smith went on to graduate school, earning her Master of Arts in Museum Studies in 2012. Still, Smith’s USAO education echoed through her as she continued her education.
“Graduate school was a stressful time for me, especially toward the end when I was working on completing a 102-page thesis,” Smith said. “My USAO mentors made this huge accomplishment possible and worthy of publication.”
With more than a decade pursuing higher education, Smith said it was USAO that taught her the most.
“Looking back at my 11 years in college, USAO was by far the place where I received the most valuable educational experiences,” she said. “USAO is a model for what other universities should strive to be: genuinely invested in the future of its students, diverse enough to foster success for all students and committed to being a source of comfort and concern, even long after graduation.”